It took the police some time to catch up with the activities of the Popular Front of India (PFI), which projects itself as a socially committed organisation and a saviour of minorities, Dalits and the marginalised. But, with a series of raids on PFI centres across North Kerala yielding lethal weapons and foreign currency, the Kerala Police have now been able to expose the real face of terror of the religious outfit bolstering the apprehension that Islamic fundamentalists are waiting to spring a surprise in the state.
On April 23, Kannur police stormed into the office of Thanal Charitable Trust, an alleged arm of PFI, in Narath and caught 21 PFI activists—all aged between 22 and 31 years—red handed along with human shooting targets, bombs, bomb making materials, gun powder, eight swords, foreign currency notes, Iranian entry card in the name of Sadik Mangalodan to Kish Island free zone and leaflets of PFI and its political outfit SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India).
In another raid on April 25, police recovered a cache of weapons including swords and iron rods from the house of a PFI activist Khamarudden in Narath.
Majority among the arrested men are office bearers of PFI units and area committees within its Edakadu division in Kannur. Abdul Azeez, one among the arrested, was an accused in the murder of RSS worker T Ashwini Kumar in March 2005.
Kannur DSP Sukumaran who led the raid said, “The documents seized from the training camp prove the SDPI-PFI connection with the camp. All the 21 men arrested also were active workers and office-bearers of the SDPI-PFI.”
Police have slapped various sections of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention (amendment) Act) against the arrested PFI workers.
More significantly, PFI state leadership has maintained that all the 21 persons who have been arrested from the camp are members of the outfit. Though many of its activists were nabbed in various murder cases across the state earlier including the sensational palm-chopping case of a college professor in Thodupuzha, PFI and its outfits have consistently been on a denial mode saying that those were isolated incidents. Besides, PFI leaders often countered this argument by citing the violence unleashed by CPM on their rivals.
In a statement, PFI General Secretary OMA Salam alleged a conspiracy behind the arrest of PFI workers in Kannur.
Meanwhile, police officials feel this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are more such camps in the state.